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The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey was first published in 2006 and updated in 2018.  The update is timely because personal trust is gaining value as a personal and organizational asset.  In a nutshell, in a world of increasing uncertainty and accelerating change, trust wins.  Covey outlines a practical roadmap we can follow to build the type of trust that can accelerate and elevate our positive impact.

The Power of Trust

Mr. Covey calls trust ‘the one thing that changes everything’ because it directly affects the trajectory and outcome of our lives.  He also defines the many practical ways that the presence of absence of trust can speed or slow our pace for achieving our goals.   Where trust is present, we see better and quicker decisions and actions.  Where trust is missing, we see the eternal frustrations of indecision, unnecessary bureaucracy, and missed opportunity.

The Five Waves of Trust

From a strategic viewpoint it is important to understand trust as an asset that supports both personal and organizational objectives.  Mr. Covey offers a helpful framework for envisioning trust in five distinctive but deeply connected waves.

  • The First Wave – Self Trust: Building personal credibility as the foundation for everything we hope to accomplish.
  • The Second Wave – Relationship Trust: Demonstrating behaviors that generate trust with those around us.
  • The Third Wave – Organizational Trust: Aligning organizational structure and culture to generate and affirm trust.
  • The Fourth Wave – Market Trust: Developing an authentic brand of trust within the marketplace.
  • The Fifth Wave – Societal Trust: Developing trust by engaging in community building.

The 13 Behaviors for Building Trust

Trust begins with individuals, and it helps to think about very practical ways we can build trust every day.  Mr. Covey outlines 13 behaviors that are essential for trust. He also provides a template for creating an action plan for building trust.

  • Behavior 1 – Talk straight
  • Behavior 2 – Demonstrate respect
  • Behavior 3 – Create transparency
  • Behavior 4 – Right wrongs
  • Behavior 5 – Show loyalty
  • Behavior 6 – Deliver results
  • Behavior 7 – Get better
  • Behavior 8 – Confront reality
  • Behavior 9 – Clarify expectations
  • Behavior 10 – Practice accountability
  • Behavior 11 – Listen first
  • Behavior 12 – Keep commitments
  • Behavior 13 – Extend trust.

Inspiring Trust

Mr. Covey closes the book with a section on helping others become trusted people by extending trust, rewarding trust, and helping people restore trust that has been lost. This is essential not only for building trusting personal relationships, but for creating a team that is ready to building organizational trust, market trust, and societal trust in authentic ways.  We highly recommend The Speed of Trust as a resource for personal and organizational learning.